If anything, the last 30 years has shown us that the early-90s Honda Civic was one of the most revered compacts of all time because of its responsiveness, reliability, and the ease with which enthusiasts could tweak it for better performance and handling.
A Softer Ride
The fifth generation Honda Civic debuted in Japan in late 1991. Larger than its predecessors, the fifth generation Civic had a more aerodynamic body and a wider wheelbase. The ride was also softer than that of the previous generation, which provided a more compliant ride at the expense of crisper handling.
The VTEC Advantage
When it was released, few foresaw how infinitely tuneable the platform would prove to be. That was primarily because Honda opted for a smaller capacity engine with a higher engine speed—essentially a dual-phase engine which behaves differently when the VTEC kicks in. That enables the Civic to offer one type of driving profile at low revs, offering good fuel economy and torque, then another profile at higher revs, where the engine really comes alive and power increases noticeably. Honda’s VTEC system is one of the most reliable engine control systems ever developed, and makes the company’s cars quicker, more efficient and more enjoyable to drive overall.
Incredible Fuel Economy
Fifth generation Civics were incredible fuel efficient. In Canada, the VX trim was rated by 4.7L/100 km city and 4.3L/100 km hwy. Other added features were an 8000 rpm tachometer with redline at 6000 rpm, lightweight 13-inch (330 mm) aluminum alloy wheels, and an instrument cluster that featured a shift indicator light that would notify the driver when to shift upwards in order to achieve optimum fuel economy. To this day, the CX and VX models are celebrated as one of the only gasoline-powered cars that rival the fuel economy of today’s hybrids and diesels
Brilliant Engineering and Enthusiast Appeal
Although the overall quality of the compact segment has today narrowed many of the distinctions among its competitors, the Honda Civic was vastly ahead of the competition in the early 1990s. Line up the Civic of that era against any domestic compact, and it wasn’t even close. Case in point—do you hear Fords of a similar vintage mentioned in the same breath as the Civic? Nope—few are still funning. Bottom line—the 1992 Honda Civic was born a practical and efficient compact, but grew up into one of the most sought-after players in its field because of its brilliant engineering and enthusiast appeal.
Actor And Comedian Kevin McDonald Recalls His First Car
While some celebs marked their early success with glorious and expensive automobiles, most had pretty humble beginnings. This week, we’re kicking off a new regular feature dubbed Stars’ First Cars in which we’re asking Cameo’s brightest and funniest to share a memory of their first ride.
Up this week is Kevin McDonald—one of Canada’s comedy legends. He is best known for being a member of the iconic comedy troupe Kids in the Hall. He’s appeared in some of era-defining shows including Friends, Seinfeld, and That 70’s Show.
His first car? A 1992 Honda Civic. “I liked it and I don’t adapt well to change—so I kept it for 11 years,” recalled actor and comedian Kevin McDonald. It was a gift from SNL’s Lorne Michaels: “He gave us $20,000 and we bought a Honda Civic.” And why not? The early-90s Honda Civic was one of the most revered compacts of all time because of its responsiveness, reliability, and the ease with which enthusiasts could tweak it for better performance and handling. Check out his interview here.